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Forums => Deeper Into Movies => Topic started by: billyandthecloneasaurus on December 24, 2018, 06:24:02 PM

Title: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: billyandthecloneasaurus on December 24, 2018, 06:24:02 PM
Having enjoyed Spotlight I looked into what else Tom McCarthy had done, and watched his early indie effort "The Station Agent" last night, and thought it was bloody lovely.

It's exactly my favourite kind of film - lovingly and skillfully fleshed out characters, what little plot there is moves at a glacial pace, and it clocks in at a perfect 89 minutes.

Anyone else seen the station agent, and does anyone have any recommendations of similar films? 
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Shameless Custard on December 24, 2018, 06:30:22 PM
The Station Agent, deffo. And yet it's a total bleedin' joy from start to finish
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Sin Agog on December 24, 2018, 06:33:00 PM
Uploaded Nostos: Il Ritorno to youtube a few years ago, a spare take on the Odysseus myth which mostly fits this bill.  It's in my personal Top 10.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn41hp4P_mo
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Shameless Custard on December 24, 2018, 06:37:44 PM
Alexander Payne is good at this kind of film. Where it's just decent characters going about, living life. I'd recommend About Schmidt, Sideways, and Nebraska. The Decendants is alright too
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: chveik on December 24, 2018, 06:38:58 PM
L'Avventura
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Sin Agog on December 24, 2018, 07:11:16 PM
If you're looking more for hanging out with vivid people going about their lives, Rohmer's always a good bet- his female characters haunt me for days.  The Green Ray (maybe another top 10), with its tiny hint of magical realism at the very end, is my favourite of his.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: St_Eddie on December 24, 2018, 07:19:04 PM
A great deal of Mike Leigh's films and to an extent, the Coen Brothers' The Big Lewbowski (although the latter does have the whole supposed kidnapping plot, but it's all fairly lowkey and used more as a means to put Lewbowski in a series of situations where his character can be himself).
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Noodle Lizard on December 24, 2018, 07:19:19 PM
Two-Lane Blacktop
Five Easy Pieces
Most early Richard Linklater films
Buffalo ‘66
The Brown Bunny (controversial, but I quite liked it)

Rick Alverson and that bloke who made Buzzard are really carrying the torch for this kind of thing now.  As far as Alverson goes, Entertainment and The Comedy would probably fit the bill best.  His first two feature arguably less than nothing happening, and are a bit of a slog.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: The Boston Crab on December 24, 2018, 09:03:56 PM
Days of Being Wild
In The Mood For Love
2046

Incredible trilogy, almost nothing happens, every moment is significant
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Sebastian Cobb on December 24, 2018, 09:31:20 PM
Made my parents watch Lucky last night, which surprisingly they enjoyed.

Loads of Rob Altman films are a bit like this.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Moribunderast on December 24, 2018, 10:16:26 PM
Linda Linda Linda. Great film that is essentially absent of plot or conflict. School band wants to play concert at school - they rehearse and play concert - end. 5 stars.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Sebastian Cobb on December 24, 2018, 10:19:53 PM
Three Women
A Wedding
Brewster McCloud
California Split
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: PlanktonSideburns on December 24, 2018, 10:51:27 PM
Lord of the rings
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: famethrowa on December 24, 2018, 11:03:41 PM
Local Hero? Blokes come to town to muck about, big boss comes from the USA and decides to muck about as well. End.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Pranet on December 24, 2018, 11:09:29 PM
Le Quattro Volte
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: McChesney Duntz on December 24, 2018, 11:45:36 PM
Van Sant's Gerry, surely. Made a bootleg DVD of this when it played on cable ten years ago or so, and before watching it in full did that jumping-forward-ten-minutes thing that DVD-R machines used to have for bookmarks, and was perversely pleased to see the same scene playing ten, twenty, and I think once thirty minutes on.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Sebastian Cobb on December 25, 2018, 12:25:31 AM
Local Hero? Blokes come to town to muck about, big boss comes from the USA and decides to muck about as well. End.

Not all that much in any Forsyth film really.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: popcorn on December 25, 2018, 12:29:10 AM
Linda Linda Linda. Great film that is essentially absent of plot or comflict. School band wants to play concert at school - they rehearse and play concert - end. 5 stars.

Was bigging this one up in the "band movies" thread. An absolutely delightful film.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Dex Sawash on December 25, 2018, 12:43:15 AM
My Dinner With Andre


I've never seen this and only know of its existence from a Simpsons gag
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Harry Badger on December 25, 2018, 12:49:23 AM
Many of Aki Kaurismaki's films fit this description. Some of them don't even run to a full length and just end after an hour or so. I still love his work.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: magval on December 25, 2018, 08:32:04 AM
Dazed and Confused. My favourite single day in fiction.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Phil_A on December 25, 2018, 08:36:28 AM
Stalker: Three bald men walk around a desolate wasteland for two hours then go home. Best Cab Meet film ever.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Bazooka on December 25, 2018, 09:58:55 AM
Stalker: Three bald men walk around a desolate wasteland for two hours then go home. Best Cab Meet film ever.

Tarkovsky films on the hole.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: greenman on December 25, 2018, 12:07:31 PM
Stalker: Three bald men walk around a desolate wasteland for two hours then go home. Best Cab Meet film ever.

Along the same lines Uzak, photographer has his cousin visit, sits around watching Tarkovsky and porn whilst cousin wanders around town doing little before going home.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Shoulders?-Stomach! on December 25, 2018, 04:39:40 PM
Napoleon Dynamite

Series of sketches basically, really good ones
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: famethrowa on December 25, 2018, 11:20:53 PM
Napoleon Dynamite

Series of sketches basically, really good ones

Yessss! (ND voice) A sweet and funny small stakes movie. Shame some folk hate it because of the hype
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Avril Lavigne on December 25, 2018, 11:46:16 PM
My Dinner With Andre


I've never seen this and only know of its existence from a Simpsons gag

I was going to post this, it's one of my top 3 movies of all time & certainly one of the most rewatchable of any I've seen.  Two artsy guys with very different outlooks on life, loosely based on the actors playing them, meet up after a long time away from each other and discuss philosophy for a couple of hours in a very engaging way (also loosely based on real discussions they had). One of the few movies in which genuinely 'nothing happens' (except interesting chat).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIpyqHi1TPg

And if it hasn't been mentioned already (can't remember because I'm drunk) I'd recommend Meek's Cutoff from 2010 which is a very very slow, realistic look at a small group of travellers crossing the desert in the old Wild West. They camp out, wash clothes in streams, cook beans and so on. Minutes go by with hardly anyone saying anything. There are a few dramatic twists but mostly it's as minimal as a plot can get & the vistas are lovely.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: checkoutgirl on December 26, 2018, 12:01:37 AM
Stranger Than Paradise. In The Soup. Smoke. Blue in the Face. Coffee and Cigarettes.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Phoenix Lazarus on December 26, 2018, 05:32:42 AM
Withnail and I.  I didn't personally like it that much, but I gather it's widely rated as good.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: St_Eddie on December 26, 2018, 01:11:58 PM
Withnail and I.  I didn't personally like it that much, but I gather it's widely rated as good.

Great example and indeed a great film to most, myself included.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: thecuriousorange on December 26, 2018, 01:17:31 PM
Napoleon Dynamite

That's a film where heaps of stuff happens.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Sebastian Cobb on December 26, 2018, 06:30:31 PM
I really didn't like ND, thought it was purposefully try-hard esoteric wank.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Catalogue Trousers on December 26, 2018, 09:03:40 PM
Clerks. A bunch of mates prat about in a shop. The End.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: hummingofevil on December 27, 2018, 02:32:30 AM
Straight Story? Guy just drives a tractor for a couple of hours.
Vanishing Point? Same but a it’s a car and for different reasons.
Fitzcaraldo? They shift a boat over a hill.
Gummo? Nothing’s happened there for generations.
Erasurehead? Couldn’t tell you if anything happens or not.
2001? Stuff happens eventually but it takes ages.
My Neighbour Totoro? Kids fuck about with ghosts in a forest.



Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: hummingofevil on December 27, 2018, 02:34:58 AM
What was that movie? The Weeping Camel? Mongolians waiting for a camel to give birth or give milk to its baby? Well the camel gives birth or it’s baby needs milk but that hardly enough to fill 90mins but for what I remember I loved that film. There is even a bit where they all laugh at farts.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: madhair60 on December 27, 2018, 09:17:17 AM
I brought you a delicious bass.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: checkoutgirl on December 27, 2018, 10:43:45 AM
Clerks. A bunch of mates prat about in a shop. The End.

No. They play hockey, go to a funeral and find a dead body.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: checkoutgirl on December 27, 2018, 10:49:27 AM
Leviathan. Literally 1.5 hours of the noise of a fishing boat at sea and a dark formless visual. I loathed it obviously but it got some good reviews.

Not to be confused with the fun Peter Weller thriller from the 80s.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Sebastian Cobb on December 27, 2018, 11:45:48 AM
Paris, Texas? The guy doesn't even speak for the first half an hour.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: St_Eddie on December 27, 2018, 02:00:38 PM
My Neighbour Totoro? Kids fuck about with ghosts in a forest.

On that Miyazaki related note; Kiki's Delivery Service.  A film I really like but all I can really recall from the plot is Kiki having to deliver a pie to a woman.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: PlanktonSideburns on December 28, 2018, 12:07:01 AM
On that Miyazaki related note; Kiki's Delivery Service.  A film I really like but all I can really recall from the plot is Kiki having to deliver a pie to a woman.

that sounds great! what kind of pie? wait dont tell me, itll spoil it.

Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: St_Eddie on December 28, 2018, 12:14:19 AM
that sounds great! what kind of pie? wait dont tell me, itll spoil it.

I shaln't spoil the pie related plot pot but watch the film!  Guess the pie!  No, seriously, it's a great film and the pie is merely a bonus.  A delicious bonus.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: PlanktonSideburns on December 28, 2018, 12:38:55 AM
jokes aside- love slow films, so will get it down me!
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: thecuriousorange on December 28, 2018, 01:47:53 PM
Avengers: Endgame
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: RDRR on December 29, 2018, 09:10:53 PM
Night on Earth
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Shit Good Nose on December 31, 2018, 02:22:06 PM
Winter's Bone.  Feels like something major is about to happen at several points, but it never does.  Great film.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: daf on December 31, 2018, 04:45:57 PM
That Derek Jarman film where the screen's just blue (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_(1993_film)) - unless there's a totally black & silent film*, I don't think anything's gonna top that for "nothing really happening"

I think I saw this on the big screen back in 1993 - I used to faint in the cinema quite a lot due to low blood pressure and massive swirling screen movements punching me right in the bread basket. On a few occasions falling flat on my face as I staggered up the isle to be sick** - so this was a nice relaxing break from the carnage.

Absolutely no recollection of any actual "plot" - just a lot of lovely blue.

- - - - -
* Surely some "artist" MUST have done this brrrriliant idea - Warhol, possibly?

- - - - -
** Jacob's Ladder, Freejack, The Lawnmower Man - all the classics!
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: greenman on December 31, 2018, 04:59:26 PM
On that Miyazaki related note; Kiki's Delivery Service.  A film I really like but all I can really recall from the plot is Kiki having to deliver a pie to a woman.

Miyazaki  from that era(post Laputa, pre Mononoke) I'd say tended to make the details of most the plotting pretty inconsequential to the real story of the film. I mean a good deal happens in Porco Rosso with the sky pirates but really its a slow character study in which not a great deal happens.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Old Gold Tooth on December 31, 2018, 06:28:47 PM
Winter's Bone.  Feels like something major is about to happen at several points, but it never does.  Great film.

Great shout. The world created feels so lived-in and realistic that I'd happily watch hours of the family just interacting.

Loving the films this thread is throwing up.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Brundle-Fly on January 01, 2019, 06:50:39 PM
Not much really happens in Whistle And I'll Come to You (1968) until the very scary payoff but even that is hardly the swimming pool bit in Poltergeist (1982) . It's just Michael Hordern burbling away pompously in a breakfast lounge, taking lonely walks on the beach and going to bed.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Chriddof on January 02, 2019, 05:57:34 PM
unless there's a totally black & silent film*, I don't think anything's gonna top that for "nothing really happening"

* Surely some "artist" MUST have done this brrrriliant idea - Warhol, possibly?

The closest anyone's come to that is Guy Debord of "Society Of The Spectacle" and Situationism fame - his first feature, Howls For Sade, is described thus:

Quote
Howls for Sade, a feature-length film created in June 1952, contains no images whatsoever. The soundtrack is accompanied by a completely blank white screen during the spoken dialogues. These dialogues, which altogether total no more than twenty minutes, are broken up into short fragments amid passages of total silence totaling one hour (the final portion of the film consisting of an uninterrupted 24-minute period of silence). During the silences the screen, and thus the theater, remains totally dark.

Source: Technical Notes on Guy Debord’s First Three Films (http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/debord.films/technotes.htm)

There was also a similar film made by one of Debord's associates, Gil Wolman, called "The Anticoncept". It differed in that instead of alternating black and white screens there was a big circle taking up most of the frame - which was obtained from some sort of common test footage used by film labs, if I remember rightly - which blinked off and back on for randomly chosen periods of time. For double wankiness points, he demanded it should be projected onto a weather balloon instead of a screen.

Amusingly, there was a cinema owner in Paris during this time who decided to take the piss out of Debord and his friends by advertising a fake film called "Sadistic Skeleton". It would have simply consisted of turning off the auditorium lights for 15 minutes. I think this guy also came up with a fake bio and stuff to advertise it. When Debord and the others caught wind of it, they went over to his cinema and basically bullied him into not "showing" it. I believe they wouldn't let him leave his office until the advertised time had passed. A key component of Situationism was the complete lack of any sense of humour.

Absolutely no recollection of any actual "plot" - just a lot of lovely blue.

I've never seen Blue, but I understand the film's actual content exists as some sort of abstract monologue (plus music) about Jarman's impending death from AIDS. Apparently he was losing his vision as a result of the disease and suffered frequent interrupting flashes of blue light, and so chose to use a pure blue screen to give people some kind of idea what he was going through.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Howj Begg on January 06, 2019, 03:46:35 AM
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels

Virtually nothing happens, but every frame is pregnant with meaning.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Sin Agog on January 06, 2019, 11:07:31 AM
I remember 'scussing The Man Who Sleeps (https://rateyourmusic.com/film/un_homme_qui_dort/) with iamfredtitmus or whatever his name was on here.  I imagine it would hit way too close to home to anyone experiencing depression or just a tantalising soupcon of existential malaise on here.  It's terrifyingly on-pont.  Not quite as far-gone down that road, but awfully close, is Malle's The Fire Within.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: NoSleep on January 06, 2019, 11:32:29 AM
Quote
unless there's a totally black & silent film*, I don't think anything's gonna top that for "nothing really happening"

The Flicker by Tony Conrad (yeah, the minimalist composer chappie who did an album with Faust was also an experimental filmmaker). Albeit alternately totally black or white (and not silent). Quite a lot happens whilst nothing really happens at all.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Chriddof on January 06, 2019, 04:50:51 PM
Ah, I forgot about The Flicker. Although there's a caption at the start giving a health warning (plus some jaunty 1920s music?) if I'm remembering it right.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Sebastian Cobb on January 06, 2019, 05:04:12 PM
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels

Virtually nothing happens, but every frame is pregnant with meaning.

I've had this floating around on my hdd for a while now.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Howj Begg on January 07, 2019, 04:58:47 PM
I've had this floating around on my hdd for a while now.

It's great. It's been living inside my head since I saw it last week. Make sure you allot yourself a whole evening.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: chveik on January 07, 2019, 05:36:52 PM
I remember 'scussing The Man Who Sleeps (https://rateyourmusic.com/film/un_homme_qui_dort/) with iamfredtitmus or whatever his name was on here.  I imagine it would hit way too close to home to anyone experiencing depression or just a tantalising soupcon of existential malaise on here.  It's terrifyingly on-pont.  Not quite as far-gone down that road, but awfully close, is Malle's The Fire Within.

the book is wonderful too. it's weird that the film is more popular now.
nothing 'really' happens in Ozu's films, and they're all very similar, but they're always full of emotions.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Lordofthefiles on January 07, 2019, 09:48:18 PM
Last Year in Marienbad
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Dex Sawash on January 08, 2019, 12:52:17 AM
Last Year in Marienbad

Passover has let itself go
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: MattD on January 08, 2019, 01:58:42 AM
Local Hero? Blokes come to town to muck about, big boss comes from the USA and decides to muck about as well. End.

Great film and I agree - nothing really does happen, but something is which makes it oneof the best movies ever. First time I watched it I didn’t know where it was going but it’s indescribable magic slowly immersed me and left a lasting impression. But I only really grasped the themes after I’d watched it and thought about the subtle nuances here and there. Only watching it again did I come to realise what made the film great.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Cerys on January 08, 2019, 04:19:11 AM
Local Hero? Blokes come to town to muck about, big boss comes from the USA and decides to muck about as well. End.

They find an injured rabbit, also.
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: famethrowa on January 08, 2019, 04:26:12 AM
Great film and I agree - nothing really does happen, but something is which makes it oneof the best movies ever. First time I watched it I didn’t know where it was going but it’s indescribable magic slowly immersed me and left a lasting impression. But I only really grasped the themes after I’d watched it and thought about the subtle nuances here and there. Only watching it again did I come to realise what made the film great.

True. Love films with no bad guys, and that music just propels it into the heavens.

They find an injured rabbit, also.

*sarcastic tone* we have an injured rabbit also
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: Blinder Data on January 08, 2019, 04:38:39 PM
Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels

Virtually nothing happens, but every frame is pregnant with meaning.

I hope it's better than Je Tu Il Elle because I felt like scratching my eyes out after 10 minutes due to boredom. That really was a film where it felt like nothing was happening, to its detriment.

But it's a difficult concept to categorise - does it cut across threadbare plots and cinematography/editing? Because passive cinematography and long uncut takes might suggest nothing is really happening and there's no plot, when that's not really the case. Would Malick's films qualify?

Maybe The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is a good example. Old Romanian man becomes ill and attempts to get treated at hospital. Great film, 9/10
Title: Re: Good films where nothing really happens
Post by: neveragain on January 08, 2019, 09:49:51 PM
Fantastic film. I'd say one thing definitely happens but it takes up the whole running time.